Nemrut Dağı — Mount Nemrut — Turkey

Nemrut Dağı, or Mount Nemrut, is a 2134 meter tall mountain in eastern Turkey, near Malatya, Adıyaman, and Kahta.

Nemrut Dağı is topped by a strange collection of huge statues put there around 62 BC by Antiochos Theos of Commagene, a megalomanical king. They are supposed to represent the king and his relatives, the dieties of all the surrounding civilizations:
— Hercules
— Zeus-Oromasdes
— Ahura Mazda
— Tyche
— Apollo-Mithras

Nemrut Dağı

The kingdom fell soon after, and the site was completely forgetten. It was only rediscovered in the late 1800's when the Germans were surveying for a railroad they were building for Turkey. It's now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

You can visit Nemrut Dağı on trips out of Malatya and Kahta. You drive up the mountain in the day, visit the site in late afternoon and watch sunset, then retire to a hotel near the summit.

In the morning you get up early to see sunrise from the summit — then it's breakfast at the hotel and back down the mountain in the late morning.

Nemrut Dağı

Passing a local shepherd on the way up the mountain.

These pictures show a trip up from the north side, from Malatya.

Nemrut Dağı Stopping for a break along the mountain road.

Nemrut Dağı The road up the mountain.

Nemrut Dağı A small mountain village, seen from the ascent.

Nemrut Dağı

Arriving near the summit. The hotel is in sight, and the summit is beyond and to its left.

Notice the conical shape of the summit — that's the burial mound, or tumulus, of the megalomanical King Antiochos Theos of Commagene.

The German railway engineers discovered the site when they were sighting mountaintops through a surveying transit.

And yes, that's snow, and these pictures were taken in early June, right after the roads had opened for the brief summer season. Most people visit Nemrut Dağı in June, July, and August, when it's practical to do so.

Nemrut Dağı

In front of the hotel.

Nemrut Dağı

The hotel itself could use a coat of paint. Mountain winters are rough, it's hard to build and maintain a structure up here.

Nemrut Dağı

Walking around the hotel before the hike to the summit.

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On the summit platform!

The statues have lost their heads over the years, eastern Turkey is geologically active and there are many earthquakes in the region.

Originally the statues were seated in a row with the gods' names explaining who's who.

The conical summit tumulus is 49 meters tall and 152 meters in diameter.

Nemrut Dağı

Art historians point out that the statues have Greek facial features, but Persian clothing and hairstyles.

The kingdom of Commagene was in the mountains between Greek and Persian civilizations, and so their art borrowed from both.

Nemrut Dağı

Eagles also figure prominently in the statues and other carvings.

Nemrut Dağı

There are spectacular views over wide areas of eastern Turkey, including the areas where both the Tigris and Euphrates rivers begin.

Nemrut Dağı

There are bas-relief carvings, thought to have formed a large frieze. They show ancestors of Antiochus, both real and imaginary.

Nemrut Dağı

One of the bas-relief carvings shows an alignment of stars and the planets Jupiter, Mercury and Mars on 7 July 62 BC. This might indicate the time when construction began on this monument.

Nemrut Dağı Bonding with one of the heads!

Nemrut Dağı Parts of the frieze at sunset.

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Hanging out in the hotel dining room after dinner.

Nemrut Dağı

Sunrise from the summit of Nemrut Dağı



       Writer : Osman OSMANOĞLU

              Pictures : Batuhan  DEMİRCİ

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